With a pound of Maryland lump back fin crabmeat selling for about $30 a pound, the delicacy is to be savored. “The rule about crabmeat is less is more. It can stand on its own,” said Morris Martick, legendary cook and owner of Martick’s on Mulberry Street for 22 years. “The best way to serve it is very simple. A touch of salt, fresh ground pepper and lemon juice. Maybe a little oregano. “
He added, “I will put crabmeat in a bowl or strainer and plump it to take out any shells that may be left on it. I would sprinkle crabmeat on top of bouillabaisse or mix it with mango in a salad.”
Simple sometimes is better, but we’ve also found some surprising—and delicious—uses of crabmeat in Baltimore.
Arancine with Crabmeat
3700 Gough Street
Open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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DiPasquale’s Marketplace in Highlandtown sells arancine, a Sicilian rice ball, with crabmeat for $6.95. Arancine is made with aborioria rice, an Italian rice that absorbs without breaking. DiPasquale’s cooks the rice with parmesan cheese, butter and saffron, forms the rice into balls and deep fries them. The sauce on the crabmeat arancine is cheesy, it will “string” as you pull it apart. The big lumps of back fin crabmeat are hot and creamy. The rice is soft and fluffy and the crust is crunchy. Arancines are one of DiPasquale’s best sellers.
DiPasquale’s is an Italian wonderland that opened in 1914. Step inside the unassuming brick building and there are Italian food products packed on the shelves, homemade Italian dishes and pizzas baked in a brick oven as you watch, sitting at a table in the dining area.
Sip & Bite
2200 Boston Street
Open 24 hours
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The crabmeat omelet at the Sip & Bite in Canton is exceptional for $8.50. The flavors of crabmeat and egg are beautifully blended with Old Bay. Nothing else is needed to season it. The crabmeat is plentiful and fills every bite. The omelet is served with hash browns that have been grilled with garlic, (the Sip & Bite also hand cuts its potatoes for fries), and toast. Delicious.
The Sip & Bite is a clean, friendly “no frills” eatery serving exceptional food round-the-clock since 1968.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Crabmeat
11 West Aylesbury Road
Open Daily 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Sunday 9 p.m.)
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The plump, melt-in-your-mouth crabmeat that tops the fried green tomatoes at the Bluestone in Baltimore County is $11. The crabmeat is plentiful and succulent. There is a slight taste of garlic that does not overwhelm and blends well with the shallots, chives and lemon buerre blanc. The green tomatoes are firm and the batter is crunchy and satisfying.
With tablecloths and linen napkins folded at each setting, Bluestone is an upscale tavern that has been serving seafood and steak for about a decade.
Of course each of the establishments also serve crab cakes! DiPasquale’s is served on a Kaiser roll or crackers with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise for $14.95. The Sip & Bite’s is served with their home-made French fries for $10.95 and the Bluestone’s is served at lunch on a potato roll or crackers, cocktail or tartar sauce, lettuce and tomato for $14 (the Bluestone dinner serving is $28 and includes two crab cakes with truffle fries and the vegetable of the day).
Caryn Coyle lives in Baltimore. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in more than a dozen literary journals and the anthology City Sages: Baltimore (2010) from City Lit Press.